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His son's picture became an iconic image from 2015 for the worst reason. Now he speaks.

When his son drowned, the whole world took notice. His message is so important.

His son's picture became an iconic image from 2015 for the worst reason. Now he speaks.

You may not know him, but you've certainly heard of his son.

His name is Abdullah Kurdi, but you probably know him best as the father of Alan (originally reported as Aylan), the drowned 3-year-old refugee boy whose picture captured the attention of people around the world.

Alan, along with his mother and his older brother, drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey into Greece. Their goal, like so many other refugee families, was to escape war-torn Syria and find safety in Europe.


Photo by Yaskin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images.

Alan's father Abdullah doesn't want other families to go through what his did. He needs our help to make that happen.

We, as human beings and citizens of the world, need to empathize with the struggle facing the refugees fleeing Syria. Are they really any less worthy of safety and dignity than the rest of us?

That's what Abdullah asks in a video that aired recently on Channel 4 in the U.K.

GIFs via Channel 4 News.

There's no better time than the holidays to take a moment to think about love, family, and peace.

Abdullah, who has lost all of those close to him in his life, isn't asking for money or for goods. He's asking for humanity, love, and kindness. He's asking us to be grateful for what we have in life and to open our hearts to refugees.

The sad fact remains that the U.S. remains leery about accepting any Syrian refugees. 54% of Americans oppose taking in any refugees from Syria. Why? Because despite the fact that refugees are fleeing terrorists, there's worry that the refugees could be terrorists. Since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks — in which none of the perpetrators were Syrian refugees — this has become an especially hot topic of discussion.

His goal is simple: peace on earth. Getting there? A bit more of a challenge.

And maybe it starts with a tiny step. Maybe the path to world peace starts with acknowledging that we need to treat each other as people first rather than coming into situations with preconceived notions about who someone is on the basis of their religion or nationality.

Stereotypes hurt us all. Holding on to stereotypes prevents peace.

Watch Abdullah Kurdi's emotional holiday message below:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.